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Counterpunch

Feature on Oscar Hosts Was 'Mean-Spirited'

March 28, 1994|MARC SHAIMAN | Marc Shaiman, a composer and musical arranger for many motion pictures, including Crystal's "City Slickers" and Goldberg's "Sister Act," was nominated for an Academy Award this year as co-author of the best original song. He wrote the music for "A Wink and a Smile" in "Sleepless in Seattle." and

I would like to respond to the piece regarding Oscar hosts ("Welcome to Oskarcast 1994: Spielberg's Night and Whoopi's Dawn," Calendar, March 21). I should state right away that I am a friend and collaborator with both Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg.

I was shocked by the mean-spirited tone of the "article" by David Kronke comparing Billy and Whoopi. I would not be surprised by such a piece in Spy magazine or on "The Howard Stern Show" but in a newspaper of your standing? Why does being a public figure mean it is always open season?

It's one thing when a performer has a film released and must be prepared for the opinions of (hopefully) responsible and learned journalists. Whoopi's performance as host would be expected to be discussed afterward, but what did Billy do to merit such an attack? Billy may not wish for me to say this, but doesn't common decency and human kindness ever come into play here?

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"Mr. Saturday Night" was for all of us who worked on it a true labor of love and for Billy represented over a year of his life and a lifetime of experience. Why should Billy's choice to not host the Oscars be used for such a thoughtless offensive?

I can personally attest to the fact that Billy Crystal is a man of overwhelming generosity, a nurturing and down-to-earth soul rare to both show business and "real" life. Call me a brown-nosed sycophant, but I love Billy and simply hate to see him denigrated so.

"Ditto" for Whoopi, whose openheartedness and loyalty to friends and co-workers should only get as much press as her private life.

Not to seem naive or hypocritical, let me also say I realize both Billy and Whoopi (and myself) at times make our livings shooting arrows at public figures. But at the end of the day, Billy and Whoopi also look for and uncover the humanity behind even the most ridiculous and, more to the point, they are just a whole lot funnier than Kronke.

By the way, who the hell is David Kronke?!

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